Goals for Session

Participants will:

  • Define what it means to be a data-driven school
  • Assess their schools' readiness
  • Determine who will participate on the data team
  • Discuss a focus area

Note: This was conceptualized as a 90-minute workshop; however, you can modify the timeline to meet the needs of the audience.

 Materials Needed:

  • Short or long readiness assessment
  • Developing a Team tool
  • Defining the Focus Area tool
  • Exploring the Focus Area tool





  1. Introduce the goals for the session.
  2. Ask participants to brainstorm (either as a large group or in groups):
    1. What counts as data?
    2. What data sources are available within the school?
    3. What does it mean to be data driven? 
  3. Discuss the brainstorm or have groups report out their responses.
  4. Say a few sentences about what it means to be a data-driven school from your own experiences weaving in participants’ responses from the brainstorm.

15 Minutes

Work Time 


  1. Group people by school teams.
  2. Discuss the necessity of assessing school for data-use readiness as a starting point. Each of the assessment tools is intended to prompt school review, reflection, discussion, and ultimately action aimed at the improvement of data-driven decisions. The responses are meant to help determine where to begin the process of becoming a data-driven school.
  3. Allow school groups time to individually take whichever assessment seems more appropriate. The shorter version will obviously take less time, but you may have time to do the long assessment. If not, school teams can do the long assessment online.
  4. Ask school teams to share responses within their teams with the goal of reaching an overall sense of their schools' readiness.
  5. Given their group readiness level, ask each group to determine necessary next steps. Provide examples of next steps such as asking the person who is knowledgeable about data to be a mentor, setting up a weekly meeting to discuss data.
  6. Have groups briefly report out their next steps.

30 Minutes

  1. Discuss the necessity of developing a data team and creating overall staff buy-in, using the Developing Commitment and Forming a Team handout as a guide. (Note that the membership of the data team may depend on individual capacity as well as on anticipated focus of data-use process)
  2. Distribute the Team Composition tool.
  3. Provide time for school groups to complete the Team Composition Tool.
  4. Monitor time and prompt groups to progress appropriately.

15 Minutes

  1. The next step for school teams to take is to begin to determine their focus area; share the Defining the Focus Area tool and the Exploring the Focus Area tool.
  2. Have schools discuss what they know to be major issues or challenges at their school, then identify an area of focus. This is a preliminary discussion as the focus may change when they return to their schools and involve other staff members.

20 Minutes



  1. Ask for 1-2 groups to share sample focus areas.
  2. Debrief the process with the entire group and discuss next steps, reminding participants of the next steps they will pursue upon returning to their schools.

10 Minutes

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